Interview with Infinite Dreams

What was the very first game created by Infinite Dreams, and how has the Polish gaming industry changed since that time, in your view? Would you say Poland has a vibrant game development scene, in terms of the number of developers producing original works there, or is the market completely dominated by games developed in Japan, the US, etc.?

Infinite Dreams was founded many years ago. The very first game that we developed was published around 1994 but only in Poland. We entered the international game market in 2002 with two GBA games. Then, around 2004, we realized that smartphones will be the next big thing and began focusing solely on them. We were pretty successful on Symbian, Windows Mobile and Palm OS. The first game developed for iPhone was a port of our successful shooter, Sky Force. Since then we’ve developed multiple games, it’s really difficult to name them all!

In regards to the Polish game development scene, I think it’s getting bigger and better. We already have some important studios that have released big games like The Witcher, Call of Juarez, Bulletstorm, and Dead Island. There are a lot of talented people and I’m sure you’ll hear from us more frequently in the future!

Wow, I was looking through your blog and found a post from way back in 2009 referencing Jelly Defense. Just how long did the game’s development cycle last?

That’s correct. We started to work on Jelly Defense more than two years ago. During the development it was redesigned and there were times when the development was partially stopped. It’s always difficult to work on big projects but I’m really happy that we’ve managed to finish it and that it turned out to be a really great game!

How did you create the trailer for Jelly Defense – was it old fashioned stop-motion claymation, or did you go the computer generated route for depicting the non-gameplay scenes? And was it all done in-house at Infinite Dreams’ office?

We have created two interesting videos for Jelly Defense. The first one is a teaser and the second one is a trailer. Both were made in-house and both were created using traditional stop motion techniques. I think it makes it stand out from the crowd of usual trailers we tend to see.

Tell us how Jelly Chronicles and Jelly Invaders tie in to Jelly Defense. Do you feel these smaller mini-projects were successful in generating early recognition for the Jelly franchise, and did you change anything in Jelly Defense as a result of the feedback you received on these teaser titles?

We created Jelly Chronicles, Jelly Invaders and Jelly Clock as small mini games to support Jelly Defense. It’s really hard to say how much those titles helped in getting recognition for Jelly Defense. The feedback was positive: we knew that our jelly heroes are funny, we knew that the music and art are well received, we also knew that it’s not enough to make a game very successful. This time we had to make one of the best tower defense games around.

Some of the battlefield music tracks are still playing in my head as I write this, so I absolutely have to ask: what are the chances you’ll release the Jelly Defense soundtrack? And what language(s) are the singers speaking in the voiced tracks?

I also love this music. When I heard it for the first time I instantly knew it was going to fit our jelly world very well. We do plan to release the soundtrack on iTunes, but you can already listen to some of it (and a few more from the artist) here. The language that is used in those voiced tracks is not defined. I’d say it’s a bit similar to Polish but hardly recognizable.

Your $0.99 USD release sale for Jelly Defense cut pretty deeply into the title’s normal price tier. How did you judge when the time was right to end the sale, and do you feel iOS is forever going to be a platform where developers have to concentrate on maximizing sales volume instead of charging a price per unit that reflects the game’s quality?

We raised the price to normal once we understood that the title would not go higher up in the ranks any more. It’s really hard for developers to sell the game at the proper price. On one hand we are aware of the amount of work we’ve put into development of this title, and on the other hand we understand that if the price is too high, then we might not get noticed in the crowd at all. The market is overcrowded and it simply forces a lot of developers to sell big games really cheaply.

What can you tell us about your upcoming iOS titles, K-Rally 3D and Outspeed? How is K-Rally 3D related to the K-Rally game Infinite Dreams released for Symbian a few years back?

Right now we are focused on K-Rally 3D. As you’ve noticed, it’s a new iteration of a game that we released in the past. The original K-Rally was very successful on Symbian and was always an important game for us. This time we are going to raise the bar even higher in top-down mobile racing games. Stay tuned!

How has the release of iOS 5 affected Infinite Dreams’ future development plans?

iOS 5 is a big thing and we are definitely going to support it. The first step is to move game save files to the cloud. A lot of people are having problems with moving their games from device to device. Other people would like to play the same game on multiple devices. iCloud is a perfect tool to make those things happen!

And finally, now that I think about it, Jelly Defense is the first piece of Polish media I’ve knowingly consumed in quite a while. Without going as far back as Chopin or Joseph Conrad, what are some of your team’s favorite natively produced movies, games, music, or other artwork? I.e., what would you recommend that our readers look into if they wanted to check out the highlights of Poland’s cultural product over the past few decades?

Well, I think that many people have played The Witcher without even knowing that it’s a Polish game based on Polish books by Andrzej Sapkowski. People interested in computer animation would probably like to see “The Cathedral,” a short animated movie by Tomasz Bagiński. It was nominated in 2002 for the Academy Award  for Animated Short film. Another notable film co-produced in Poland was Peter and the Wolf, which won that Academy Award in 2007.

We also have some pretty famous directors that create artistic movies. The most notable is probably Roman Polański but it’s also important to name Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieślowski. We might not be very active in international media but there are definitely a lot of interesting things going on in our country!

Our thanks goes to Marek Wyszynski of Infinite Dreams for taking the time out to answer our questions, and to Artur Starzyk for facilitating. Keep on eye on their official site, dev blog, and Twitter and Facebook accounts for the latest news out of this studio!